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The Mirza family loves the persecution, they call it free press

Intro
I have written in many essays that Ahmadiyya leadership aka the Mirza family purposely got themselves declared as non-Muslim in 1974. As we all know, Ahmadis were basically declared as Muslim in 1954, since the govt. of Pakistan observed that there is no clear definition of a “Muslim” in the Quran or any hadith. All definitions from the hadith were found to be “confusing” and “unclear”. The truth is….every hadith report has a context, and that context is rarely ever discussed, most people, especially Ahmadis, they use hadith and “create-a-context”, and then present their queer views.
Continue reading “The Mirza family loves the persecution, they call it free press”

Was there freedom of the press in British India?

Intro
There was no freedom of speech in British-India. Almost every Muslim was forced to give allegiance to the British government. 
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Amrita Bazar Patrika in 1908, India’s first Gujarati language and oldest bilingual newspaper started around 1868.

Freedom of the press in British India or freedom of the press in pre-independence India refers to the censorship on print media during the period of British rule by the British Crown on the Indian subcontinent from 1858 to 1947. The British Indian press was legally protected by the set of laws such as Vernacular Press Act, Censorship of Press Act, 1799, Metcalfe Act and Indian Press Act, 1910, while the media outlets were regulated by the Licensing Regulations, 1823, Licensing Act, 1857 and Registration Act, 1867. The British administrators in the India subcontinent (in modern-day Republic of IndiaIslamic Republic of Pakistan and People’s Republic of Bangladesh) brought a set of rules and regulations into effect designed to prevent circulating claimed inaccuratemedia bias and disinformation across the subcontinent.

In pre-independence, the government formulated several legal actions, including Gagging Act, comprised a set of rules for publishing, distributing and circulating news stories and operating media organizations working independently or running in the subcontinent. These rules primarily compelled regional and English-language newspapers to express their concerns under the selected provisions. During the period, government allowed a journalist or media industries to cover any story and brought it to the audiences without impacting sovereignty of British Empire in subcontinent.[1][2]

History[edit]

The British administrators are often credited for introducing the “independent journalism” (English press) in the subcontinent. During the period, the press became an instrumental for leaders, activists and the government itself. James Augustus Hicky, also referred to as “father of Indian press”, a British citizen known for introducing first newspaper during the reign, and hence India’s press foundation was originally led by the British administration despite the self-censorship by the imperialism.[3][4] Hicky wrote articles independently on corruption and other scandals without naming the officials. To avoid lawsuits, he used multiple nicknames while referring to the authorities throughout his articles.[5] In 1807, Hicky’s Bengal Gazette was seized by the authorities for publishing anti-government articles.[2]

The history of the press in pre and modern India is covered by a book titled War over Words: Censorship in India, 1930-1960 by Devika Sethi. It was published by the Cambridge University Press in 2019.[6]

Censorship on press[edit]

During the reign, administration was claimed to have involved in direct and self-censorship, leading some newspapers to stop publishing articles after licenses were revoked. Prior to the Indian Rebellion of 1857, the press was actively involved in independence movement and in demonstration coverages, leading the government to get involved in self-censorship on the press freedom. Later, Lord Lytton enacted Gagging Act to control the publications in the subcontinent, and while it compelled every newspaper, particularly English-language publications, the media organizations had to apply for a license upon ensuring “nothing was written against the government”. The Gagging Act didn’t affected the media, and it continued working until the new measures were taken. During 1870s, the regional newspapers, including Amrita Bazar Patrika published vernacular language were also involved in encouraging people against the rule. Amrita Bazar Patrika, 1868’s Bengali weekly newspaper caught government attention after it published about Indigo revolt.

In the 1880s, the government formulated several new laws following the role of the press in freedom movement, and later the government. However, after formation of the Indian National Congress, the government enacted numerous sections in 1898 such as section 565, 124A and 153A of the Indian Penal Code. The government later enacted four new laws, comprised a comprehensive set of rules for media organizations. Among those were the Newspapers (Incitement to Offences) Act 1908, the Prevention of Seditious Meetings Act 1911, the Indian Press Act, 1910, the Criminal Law Amendment Act 1908, and the Secrets Act 1903.

The Press Act 1910 impacted almost all newspapers. It is believed around 1,000 publications were prosecuted under the Act, and government collected 500,000 of securities and forfeitures from the papers during the period of first five years the Act was enacted. Several journalists and publications, including the Amrita Bazar Patrika were charged under sedition law for publishing anti-government articles. In the later period, the Press Emergency Act 1931 was actively exercised amid Satyagraha, a nonviolent resistance or press advocacy (rally the masses) against the British rule.

Following the Salt March, the Act played significantly in BombayUttar PradeshBengalMadrasDelhi and Punjab for British administration to maintain a self-censorship on speech, public communication, or other information, on such material was considered objectionable. It is claimed the rule was involved in propaganda, while international news was also filtered. In November 1939, the authorities restricted newspapers from writing about the hunger strikes, which were held by prisoners across the country.

The editors later raised concerns regarding the freedom of expression and safeguard of the press. The All-India Newspapers Editors’ Conference also emerged during the period. It demanded the government to lift the restrictions on the press. In 1941, Mahatma Gandhi criticised the authorities for restricting media, citing “In the name of the war effort, all expression of opinion is effectively suppressed”. Despite varieties of criticism, the government continued to prohibit the press. The government subsequently asked The Hitavada newspaper to reveal the name of its reporter. The authorities also conducted investigations at the office of Hindustan Times. It restricted the press and rebellion activities under the Defence of India Act 1915 from making announcements to the masses. It also extended imprisonment to five years, while the Official Secrets Act was passed to provide death sentence to those involved in anti-government editorials.

In 1942 following the Quit India Movement, the press was instructed not cover any news about political parties. The All-India Newspaper Editors’ Conference subsequently compiled the government order stating the newspapers will observe caution and refrain from publishing on Quit India Movement.[7]

Protests[edit]

In 1919, the government introduced Rowlatt Act to indefinitely detain people without trial involved in anti-government activities. The Act was also designed to restrict writing, speech and movements carried out amid civil disobedience policies. The Rowlatt resulted in hundreds of killings.[8]

Major newspapers[edit]

In 1780, James Augustus Hickey launched Hicky’s Bengal Gazette in Kolkata, which was later banned in 1872 following the anti-government editorials. In the later period, more newspaper and journals were launched such as the Bengal Journal, the Bombay HeraldThe Calcutta Chronicle and General Advertiser and Madras Courier.[1] The subcontinent saw numerous publications such as Samachar Sudha VarashanPayam-e-AzadiSultan-ul-Akhbar and Doorbeen. All newspapers played significant role in Indian independence movement, while numerous publications, including Payam-e-Azadi were banned or seized by the government over spreading information which was considered “objectionable”.[9]

Journalists arrested[edit]

The British Indian journalists experienced difficult situation due to comprehensive set of rules.Bal Gangadhar Tilak, was the founder of two newspapers such as Kesari and Mahratta. He used to run the both to criticise the rule and also defended Shivaji VI when government declared him “mad”. Later, government arrested Tilak and charged him with sedition. G. Subramania Iyer, a social reformer and journalist created two newspapers such as The Hindu and Swadesamitran. He used to encourage Tamils through his writings to participate in the resistance movement. The government arrested and charged him with defamation law, leading him to serve in jail.

During the 1910s, a Malayalam publication and journalist Swadeshabhimani Ramakrishna Pillai, used to wrote for a journal owned by Vakkom Moulavi. Pillai was actively involved in writing against P. Rajagopalachari, and later he was arrested and displaced by the government, leading him to spent his last days in Tirunelveli, Tamil Nadu.[10]

Underground press[edit]

During the period of British rule and resistance movement, the freedom activists and leaders illegally shared information through secret radio messages and cyclostyled sheets, and also graffitied on the walls. Some underground publications were working secretly after authorities imposed restrictions on major publications.[7]

Major coverages[edit]

During the period of British rule, the local media covered major events in newspapers and magazines. The regional language newspapers wrote on numerous subjects such as speeches of Gandhi, freedom activists, leaders, including the speeches of Indian National Congress and the trial of Bhagat Singh were the main topics among others. Major newspapers and magazines were banned following the Quit India Movement, Purna Swaraj and Salt March. When Shivaram Rajguru and Bhagat Singh threw a pamphlet and bomb on the Parliament House, the Hindustan Times wrote extensively on the subject, which became the main reason for the government to ban publishing photographs of Bhagat Singh and Rajguru in the media.

Rise of the press[edit]

The first printing press was established in 18th century when the first newspaper The Bengal Gazette was launched in 1780 by James Augustus Hicky, which later became known as Hicky’s Gazette. Prior to this, the British residents in the subcontinent initially started producing the weeklies and then dailies newspapers. In the mid-19th century, newspapers begun circulate in few cities, and later they started publishing in major provinces such as Madras, Bombay and Delhi, which later becam the centres of publishing. Initially, the media used to wrote only in English language, however the regional language editorials also increased gradually. The first newspaper published in Indian language was the Samachar Darpan, a Bengali language newspaper which started around 1818. Later, the subcontinent saw a range of newspapers, including Bombay Samachar, the first Gujarati language newspaper was launched around 1822. At that time, Hindi language newspapers were not running until Samachar Sudha Varshan came into existence around 1854, the first Hindi language newspaper. Later, the more newspapers and magazines were launched in different regional language such as MalayalamMarathiTamilUrduTelugu, accompanied by other journals. The British Indian government banned all publications written in regional languages citing “vernaculars”. It is believed political leaders, reformers and underground resistance groups produced numerous newspapers and magazines following the Indian Rebellion of 1857. They spread their opinions through pamphlets, printed books, journals and newsletters. The government regarded regional language editorials “worried”, and hence they enforced Vernacular Press Act 1878 in an attempt to stop local language editorials, which later became known as “Gagging Act”. In 1909, Newspaper Act was introduced before the Indian Press Act 1910 was brought into effect, designed to add had all features of Vernacular Press Act 1878.[11]

Books[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Muhammad Hussain Batalvi’s 156-page review of the Barahin-i-Ahmadiyya (1884) free download

Intro
In 1884, after BA4 was published, MGA was immediately called a Kafir by a few of the Ahl-e-hadith ulema of North India. They accused MGA of claiming prophethood in the Barahin. Two brothers Maulana Abdullah and Maulana Muhammad Ludhianvi issued a decree of excommunication against Mirza immediately after he issued first volumes of Barahin Ahmadiyya (See Tarikh e Ahmadiyya).

MGA remained silent, however, MGA’s closed friend and fellow ahl-e-hadith Muslim Syed Muhammad Hussain Batalvi came to MGA’s aid in his own newpaper, the “Isha‘atus-Sunnah” of winter 1884. In his newspaper he defended MGA to those who were doing Takfir on him, He argued that MGA was not really claiming prophethood, it was all a mis-understanding. MGA never said a word about this topic until 1891. In January of 1891, MGA claimed to be the Messiah and again denied prophethood. However, this time, Syed Muhammad Hussain Batalvi  was at the forefront of the Takfir vs. MGA. MGA kept on denying his prophethood for 10 years, until 1901, wherein he finally claimed prophethood in a sneaky way and backdated it to 1880, when he first published the Barahin-i-Ahmadiyya vol. 1-2.

Nevertheless, in the below, we have made the 156 page review by Syed Muhammad Hussain Batalvi from 1884 available as a free download.
Continue reading “Muhammad Hussain Batalvi’s 156-page review of the Barahin-i-Ahmadiyya (1884) free download”

“With Love to the Ahmadi’s of the World” by Farhan Yousafzai (2010)—free download

Intro
In 2010, our Muslim brother Farhan Khan published an amazing book on the topic of the Ahmadiyya prophethood. He covered most of the top arguments that Ahmadi’s make when they encounter Muslims. We have posted the book in the below. Continue reading ““With Love to the Ahmadi’s of the World” by Farhan Yousafzai (2010)—free download”

Shah-Wali Ullah’s persian translation of the Quran, available for free download

Intro
Dear friends, we are continuing to research further into the beliefs of Shah Wali Ullah, the mujadid of the 12 century. We have already found his writings wherein he confirms that Esa (As) is still alive in heaven and will physically return. We have also found writings which confirm that he believed that Esa (As) was never on the cross (the substitution theory). In the below, we have posted the full translation of the Quran in Persian. This seems to be the first-ever word for word translation of the Quran.
_____________________________________________________________________________________________Shah Wali Ullah’s first ever translation of the Quran (persian)

Fathur-Rahman-Tarjama-Quran-i-Majeed-Persian

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Links and Related Essay’s
https://ahmadiyyafactcheckblog.com/2020/10/10/shah-wali-ullah-supported-the-substitution-theory-and-the-physical-acsension-raffa-of-esa-as-to-jannah-heaven/

https://ahmadiyyafactcheckblog.com/2020/07/09/shah-wali-ullah-the-mujadid-of-the-12th-century-and-the-end-of-prophethood-and-the-physical-return-of-esa-as/

https://ahmadiyyafactcheckblog.com/2017/05/25/mirza-ghulam-ahmad-says-that-any-muslim-who-believes-in-abrogation-is-a-kafir/

The Mushrikun Mujadidd

The Mushrikun Mujadidds

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shah_Waliullah_Dehlawi

http://www.muslimphilosophy.com/ip/rep/H045

Teachings of Shah Waliyullah

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Tags

#hanafi #hanafifiqh #imamabuhanifa #shahwaliullah

#Ramadhan, #virtualramadhan
#قادیانی_دنیا_کا_بدترین_کافر
#قادیانی_اقلیت_نہیں_غدار

#coronavirus #covid19 #ahmadiyya #ahmadiyyatrueislam #ahmadiapartheid #Ahmadiyyat #rabwah #qadian #meetthekhalifa #muslimsforpeace #ahmadiyyafactcheckblog #nolifewithoutkhalifa #AhmadiyyaPersecution #islamandpatriotism #innocentlivesmatter #supremejustice

 

The history of Ahmadiyya in Uganda, the British Government gave Ahmadi’s 4000 acres of free land

Intro
Per the English-Review of Religions of September-1915 (see page 355) an Ahmadi was living in Kampala, Uganda by the name of Fazl Din, he was a Veterinary Assistant. This Fazl Din mentions about Eid and how many people showed up and he asked them for money to send to Qadian, then he tells us that the British government has given the Ahmadiyya Movement 4000 acres of land to use for a mosque. September-1915, pages 350-357.

Per Fisher, the first Ahmadi mullah to arrive in East Africa was in 1934, in Mombasa, Kenya, this is a coastal city wherein Islam is deeply entrenched. The Ahmadi mullah was the famous Sheikh Mubarak Ahmad.
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1927-1928
Commander Dr. Abdul Latif is sent as a medical missionary to Uganda and Kenya, basically East Africa. The other one was Major Dr. M. Shah Nawaz Khan (1899–1977), he was the pioneer Ahmadi Muslim medical missionary to West Africa.
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1934

Per Fisher, the first Ahmadi mullah to arrive in East Africa was in 1934, in Mombasa, Kenya, this is a coastal city wherein Islam is deeply entrenched. The Ahmadi mullah was simply named Mubarak Ahmad.

_____________________________________________________________________________________________1958

Per Ahmadiyya sources, “Our Foreign Missions” (1958) there was one Ahmadi mosque there in Jinja, Uganda, it seems to have been built in 1957. 
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Pics

Ahmadiyya Mosque – Jinja Uganda

Ahmadiyya Mosque and Mission House in Jinja

Ahmadiyya Mosque – Kampala Uganda

Ahmadiyya Mosque – Kampala Uganda

Ahmadiyya Mosque – Kampala Uganda

Ahmadiyya Mosque – Kampala Uganda


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Links and Related Essay’s
https://ahmadiyyafactcheckblog.com/2018/03/15/who-was-the-ahmadi-commander-dr-abdul-latif/

https://ahmadiyyafactcheckblog.com/2020/10/22/the-3rd-sect-of-ahmadis-were-created-in-lagos-nigeria-in-1922/

https://ahmadiyyafactcheckblog.com/2019/09/10/who-is-sheikh-mubarak-ahmad-1910-2001/

https://ahmadiyyafactcheckblog.com/2020/10/22/l-b-agusto-was-a-pioneer-member-of-the-ahmadiyya-movement-in-nigeria-but-he-renounced-membership-when-he-realized-that-members-in-southfield-london-believed-founder-ghulam-ahmad-was-a-prophet/

https://ahmadiyyafactcheckblog.com/2020/10/22/who-is-jibril-martin-1888-1959-the-ahmadi-in-nigeria-who-rejected-the-qadiani-khilafat-and-created-the-3rd-sect-of-ahmadis/

https://ahmadiyyafactcheckblog.com/2020/10/21/who-is-the-ahmadi-mullah-abdur-rahim-nayyar/

Stefan Reichmuth. “Education and the Growth of Religious Associations among Yoruba Muslims: The Ansar-Ud-Deen Society of Nigeria”, Journal of Religion in Africa, Vol. 26, Fasc. 4 (Nov., 1996). p 8.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jibril_Martin

https://ahmadiyyafactcheckblog.com/2018/09/24/ahmadiyya-a-study-in-contemporary-islam-on-the-west-african-coast-by-humphrey-j-fisher-1963/

https://ahmadiyyafactcheckblog.com/2018/09/20/professor-humphrey-j-fisher-and-j-spencer-trimingham-called-ahmadiyya-a-maritime-implantation-in-west-africa/

https://www.encyclopedia.com/arts/educational-magazines/fisher-humphrey-john-1933

https://ahmadiyyafactcheckblog.com/2017/09/01/who-is-humphrey-j-fisher-the-writer-who-wrote-extensively-about-ahmadiyya-in-africa/

https://ahmadiyyafactcheckblog.com/2019/09/03/early-history-of-ahmadiyya-in-ghana-by-haneef-keelson/

https://ahmadiyyafactcheckblog.com/2017/05/22/ahmadiyya-in-gambia/

https://ahmadiyyafactcheckblog.com/2017/09/01/who-is-farimang-mamadi-singhateh-the-governor-general-of-the-gambia-and-an-ahmadi/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ahmadiyya_in_the_Gambia#cite_note-Fisher126-1

https://ahmadiyyafactcheckblog.com/2018/06/14/who-is-ghulam-nabi-gilkar/

https://ahmadiyyafactcheckblog.com/2017/05/22/ahmadiyya-in-gambia/

https://ahmadiyyafactcheckblog.com/2017/02/19/dr-balogan-the-famous-african-ahmadi-who-left-ahmadiyya-in-1974/

https://ahmadiyyafactcheckblog.com/2019/12/14/did-general-muhammad-zia-ul-haq-join-ahmadiyya-in-the-1940s/

https://ahmadiyyafactcheckblog.com/2018/09/20/islam-vs-ahmadiyya-in-nigeria-1975-by-dr-ismail-a-b-balogan-b-a-ph-d-london-university-of-ibadan/

https://ahmadiyyafactcheckblog.com/2018/09/24/ahmadiyya-a-study-in-contemporary-islam-on-the-west-african-coast-by-humphrey-j-fisher-1963/

https://ahmadiyyafactcheckblog.com/?s=Balogan

https://ahmadiyyafactcheckblog.com/2017/05/22/ahmadiyya-in-gambia/

https://ahmadiyyafactcheckblog.com/2017/02/19/dr-balogan-the-famous-african-ahmadi-who-left-ahmadiyya-in-1974/

https://ahmadiyyafactcheckblog.com/2017/09/01/who-is-farimang-mamadi-singhateh-the-governor-general-of-the-gambia-and-an-ahmadi/

https://ahmadiyyafactcheckblog.com/2017/09/01/who-is-humphrey-j-fisher-the-writer-who-wrote-extensively-about-ahmadiyya-in-africa/

https://ahmadiyyafactcheckblog.com/2018/10/16/trimingham-j-spencer-the-influence-of-islam-upon-africa-1968/

https://ahmadiyyafactcheckblog.com/2020/01/13/ahmadi-medical-officers-doctors-who-served-in-the-british-military-during-ww-2/
_____________________________________________________________________________________________
Tags
#ahmadiyyaineastafrica #ahmadiyyainafrica #ahmadiyyainwestafrica #ahmadiyyainnigeria #ahmadiyyainlagos #lagos #ahmadiyyainghana #ahmadiyyainsierraleone #Ahmadiyyainbritishwestafrica #ahmadiyyainbritishcolonies #ahmadiyyaviacolonialism #ahmadiyyafactcheckblog #ahmadiyya #ahmadiyyat #okepopomosque

 

The Ahmadis: The Jihad against Free Speech by Robert Spencer

Intro
This entire entry was taken from here: https://www.jihadwatch.org/2019/10/the-ahmadis-the-jihad-against-free-speech.

The data

“The Western leaders make me laugh by maintaining that they cannot put restrictions on newspapers and freedom of expression,” stated the Ahmadi “caliph,” Hadrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, in London on February 10, 2006. This crackpot demonstrated how the smallcaliphate-dreaming Ahmadi cult has joined other Muslims in demanding Islamic censorship — another fact that belies the Ahmadis’ fraudulently cultivated “moderate” reputation.

Ahmad spoke during a series of February-March 2006 London addresses following global Muslim outrage after the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten in December 2005 published “foul caricatures” of Islam’s prophet Muhammad. Later compiled in an online book, the speeches documented how he found bewildering the defenses of the cartoons in Denmark and beyond as free speech, given Holocaust-denial prohibitions in Western countries like Denmark. The “vulgar expression about any sacred person of any religion does not constitute freedom in any way at all,” he stated.

In a March 29, 2008 London address contained in another online compendium of Ahmad’s statements, he reproached Western societies for “immoral acts” such as the Jyllands-Posten cartoons. These cartoons “ridicule founders of religions and prophets and make mockery of their teachings and scriptures.” Earlier in February, he had condemned the West for “swiftly abandoning religion” and said it was “demolishing moral values in every field in the name of freedom.” This “mischief is let loose that makes the filth of their minds and remoteness from God evident, and demonstrates their prejudice and malice against Islam.”

“Everything has a limit and some code of conduct,” including journalism, Ahmad concluded, as he called for suppressing such criticism of Islam, in line with similar calls from the Organization of the Islamic Conference, now known as the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). He approved the fact that the 57-member state (including “Palestine”) OIC, pursuant to a decades-long international censorship campaign, “has said that the Western countries will be pressured to apologize as well as to legislate against offending Prophets of God.” Given Muslim rioting worldwide in response to Denmark’s free speech, he presented himself as a protector of law and order, warning that if Islam’s critics “do not abstain, then world peace could not be guaranteed.” Similarly, a Danish Ahmadi wrote in a February 2006 edition of a local newspaper that the cartoons were “simply a dirty and childish act,” such that “to stem disorder it is required to apply” Denmark’s anti-defamation law.

Ahmad returned to his Islamic inquisition in 2012, following more international Muslim anger in response to the online American video Innocence of Muslims, as well as cartoons mocking Muhammad in France’s Charlie Hebdo satire magazine. Another online book collection of his speeches contained an introduction that condemned an “international conspiracy against Islam and its Holy Founder.” This involved “vulgar language, obscene descriptions, distortion of the teachings of Islam and the noble character of the Holy Prophet Muhammad” and “negative propaganda, blasphemous criticism.”

In a September 21, 2012 sermon in a Surrey, England, Ahmadi mosque, Ahmad once again subordinated critical discussion to Islamic law’s (sharia) blasphemy prohibitions. “Laws made by God are flawless. Do not consider, therefore, your man-made laws to be perfect,” he stated with unquestioning fidelity to Islamic orthodoxy. By contrast, the “law regarding freedom of speech is not a Divine scripture.”

Correspondingly, Ahmad called for legal action. “While a law for freedom of speech exists, neither in any country nor in the UN Charter do we find a law that states that no person will be allowed the freedom to hurt the religious sentiments of others or insult the holy personages of other religions.” “It is necessary for world peace that this is made a part of the UN peace charter,” otherwise there would result a “lava of hatred to erupt and the gulf between countries and religions to increasingly widen.”

During his first visit to the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium, on December 3-4, 2012, he likewise advocated “policies that establish and protect mutual respect.” Thus “hurting the sentiments of others or causing them any type of harm should be outlawed.” This reflected that “Islam teaches that only those who use their tongues [emphasis added] and hands to spread injustice and hatred deserve to be punished.”

Ahmad in his Surrey address appealed to Muslims worldwide to support this legal campaign, as Muslims “could bring about a revolution in the world” with “laws pertaining to respecting religious sentiments within countries.” Governments in Muslim-majority countries should tell the “world that according to the teachings of the Holy Qur’an, playing with the religious sentiments of others or to try to dishonor the prophets of God is a major crime and major sin.” In tandem, “all of the Muslim lawyers of the world should join together and form a petition” advocating blasphemy punishments.

Global Muslim solidarity, while appealing to Ahmad in his Surrey remarks, had ominous implications for non-Muslims:

Muslims are the second greatest power of the world in terms of population and religion. Were they to abide by the commandments of Allah the Almighty they could become the greatest force in every sense. In such an instance, the anti-Islamic forces would never even dare contemplating or perpetrating such heart-rending acts.

Ahmad stressed that opposition to criticism of Islam should remain nonviolent, for “[i]t is completely contrary to the teachings of Islam to attack innocent people.” Earlier during his October 22, 2008 House of Commons address he had argued that “hatred spurs certain extremist Muslims into committing ‘un-Islamic’ deeds,” violence which serves as precisely his justification for censorship. “If our Muslim leaders had made robust efforts then the public would not react inappropriately, as is currently occurring in Pakistan and in other countries,” he stated in Surrey.

Yet contradictorily, Ahmad presented blasphemy’s effect upon Muslims in decidedly zealous, militant tones. A Muslim “is prepared to give up his or her life and be slain for the respect and honor of the Prophet.” Accordingly, Muslims “prostrate before God the Exalted and pray that may He take revenge from these wrongdoers. May they become a sign of admonishment that will remain a lesson until the end of time.”

Following their caliph, American Ahmadi leaders have promoted various stratagems to repress verbal attacks upon Islam, even in a land whose free speech protections are among the most robust in the world. Qasim Rashid has presented to this author and others the absurd legal analysis that long-overturned United States Supreme Court decisions (e.g. Schenk v. United States) could prohibit expression such as Terry Jones’ 2011 Quran burning. Like former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Harris Zafar, meanwhile, has attempted to shame Islam-critical “enemies of peace.” Zafar laments the fact that some people “claim that an individual’s privilege to say whatever they want is more important than the higher principle of uniting people.”

University of California-Los Angeles law professor Amjad Mahmood Khan also appeared to follow Clinton’s playbook during a 2015 address, while questionably asserting that Islamic doctrine favored free speech. “Differences of opinion are a blessing among my people,” the Ahmadi spokesman Khan cited Muhammad saying. When facing verbal attacks in seventh-century Arabia, he “bore this vile speech with patience and forbearance and he never sanctioned violence or prosecution for objectionable speech,” a claim that might surprise various dead poets in Islamic canons.

Nonetheless, the “Quran repeatedly discourages unseemly speech intended to sow discord,” Khan warned. Therefore

speech that is solely intended to ridicule the prophet and hurt the sentiments of over 1.5 billion Muslims must be exercised with caution and restraint. Of course the speech is unrestricted, not in the same way as it is in the Islamic world, here with our First Amendment, and as a lawyer I swear to protect those vital constitutional safeguards. But there still is a moral duty to condemn speech designed to hurt religious personages.

Past statements by Khan and other Ahmadi leaders undercut the liberal message of the February 26, 2016 launch at Washington, DC’s Rayburn House Office Building of the Ahmadi True Islam online public relations campaign. While addressing the audience, he lamented survey data showing American Muslim support for blasphemy restrictions. Contrasting with Rashid’s quoted online support for True Islam, Ahmadi representatives Amjad Chaudhry and Bashir Shams rejected before this author Rashid’s censorship views, with the latter saying “we believe in writing.”

Nevertheless, Ahmadi speech has often been merely another means of silencing critics such as the late (d. 2010) German scholar of Islam Hiltrud Schröter, author of a 2002 book on the Ahmadis. She discussed how the German Ahmadi community “attempted in various ways to silence me, for example through defamation and false assertions” online. According to these representations, she “worked unscientifically, is crazy, and has delusions.”

American anti-sharia activist Pamela Geller likewise condemned Ahmadi advocates in 2014. “These ‘moderate’ Muslims smear, defame and attack counter jihadists like Robert Spencer and me” and “provide essential cover for the global jihad,” she wrote, “so color me skeptical.” Ironically, “US leaders of the Ahmadi community carry water for the same Islamic supremacists who would cheerfully slit their throats if they were back in Pakistan.”

Yet the strained Ahmadi relationship with free speech makes sense given the Ahmadi faith’s hollowness. Strange and not-so-true Ahmadi beliefs previously examined in this series concerning matters including caliphates, Islamic history, Israel, Jesus, marriage, sex, and the West can no more withstand open debate than can the views of the late Lyndon LaRouche. While Ahmadis deserve the same sympathy as other victims of oppression in Muslim-majority societies worldwide, Ahmadis’ own antagonism towards liberty is just one more reason not to take the Ahmadis seriously.

“The Star of the Empress” by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (1899)

Intro
This is lesser known pamphlet that MGA and his team wrote. They had initially written “Sitara-e-Qaisarah” (also spelled Tuhfa-e- Qaisariyyah) in English as “The Star of Victoria”, however, the queen of England never even responded to MGA’s flattery. So MGA and his team wrote another pamphlet entitled, “The Star of the Empress” by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (1899), this seems to have been in english. This was nothing new for MGA, he was always praying for the success of the British government and begging his followers to do the same. Nuzhat Haneef quote this book heavily in her monumental work. This book published on August 24, 1899, in Urdu it’s book of only 16 pages, written in 1898 and published in 1899. The original english edition is not posted by the Qadiani Ahmadi’s. MGA complimented the British Government for providing freedom of expression and religious tolerance. MGA went on and on praising Queen Victoria and telling her it is her era which the Prophet (sallallahualaihiwasallam) foretold the Messiah will come and wolves and sheep will drink from the same pond and children will play with snakes. He says to Queen Victoria: “May God help you from the heavens. Thus, the coming of the Promised Messiah in this world is only as a result of your blessed existence, your sincerity of heart and your true compassion.” He tells the Queen: “It is in our reliable books that the Promised Messiah will not engage in any battle nor will he lift a sword.” pg 121.

Continue reading ““The Star of the Empress” by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (1899)”

“””Africa’s Muslim Authorities and Ahmadis: Curbed Freedoms, Circumvented Legalities””” by Muhammed Haron professor of Religious Studies at the University of Botswana and an Associate Researcher at the University of Stellenbosch

Intro
Ahmadiyya was used by the British Government to get the Muslims of India, Africa and many other countries.  In fact, MGA told Ahmadi’s to pray for the success of the British Government, who were vicious colonizers.   In this work, he explains how the British government used Ahmadiyya to convert common Muslims.  Christianity wasn’t working to convert Muslims, thus, the British government partnered with Ahmadiyya as a method to subjugate the masses in Africa to support and defend colonialism.  In this academic work, he refers to Lahori-Ahmadi’s as simply “Ahmadi’s”, whereas the Qadiani-Ahmadi’s are called Qadiani’s.  Dr. Balogan is another famous college professor from Africa who wrote academically about Ahmadiyya.

Who is Muhammed Haron?
We have found an essay by Muhammed Haron who is a professor of Religious Studies at the University of Botswana and an Associate Researcher at the University of Stellenbosch. He is editor of University of Cape Town’s Annual Review of Islam in Africa and the Editor-in-Chief of Duke University’s online Research Africa Reviews. He co-edited Muslim Higher Education in Postcolonial Africa (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016) and co-edited Proceedings of the 2016 Islamic Civilization in Southern Africa Congress (Istanbul: IRCICA, 2018).  Pages 60-74 | Published online: 11 Dec 2018.

The academic essay
https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/15570274.2018.1535048?af=R&

The Ahmadiyya Community (hereafter Ahmadis) encountered difficulties to freely express their beliefs and creeds in both Muslim majority societies and Muslim minority communities. Since the Ahmadis are among those communities that departed from the traditional Muslim theological position, the traditional Muslim authorities curbed their beliefs and practices through the issuing of fatwas. In response the Ahmadis tried to avoid being harassed and persecuted by seeking ways of circumventing the legalities. This article evaluates the theological clashes that occasionally occurred between the Ahmadis and these Muslim authorities in African settings where religious communities have generally experienced relative religious freedom.

Freedom of religion or belief is not just an optional extra, or nice to have; it is the key human right. It allows everyone to follow their conscience in the way they see fit. Baroness Anelay of St Johns, 16 July 2015

Over the many decades, Muslim communities like other religious communities the world over have encountered external and internal challenges. On the external front, these communities have been challenged by Islamophobic outbursts across Europe and in other Western regions (Wajahat Ali et al. 2011Wajahat Ali et al. 2011Fear Inc.: The Roots of the Islamophobia Network in AmericaWashington, DCCentre for American

Progress.https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/religion/report/2011/08/26/10165/fear-inc/Fear, Inc.: The Roots of the Islamophobia Network in America],“ Wajahat Ali, Eli Clifton, Matthew Duss, Lee Fang, Scott Keyes, and Faiz Shakir. [Google Scholar]; Bayrakli and Hafez 2016Bayrakli, Enes, and Farid Hafez, eds. 2016European Islamophobia Report 2015Istanbul & Washington, DCSETA. [Google Scholar]),11 This term refers to anti-Muslim rhetoric that has been studies by various individuals and groups over the past few years. Interesting texts that cover this phenomenon is the report by Wajahat Ali et al. Fear Inc.: The Roots of the Islamophobia Network in America (Wajahat Ali et al. 2011Wajahat Ali et al. 2011Fear Inc.: The Roots of the Islamophobia Network in AmericaWashington, DCCentre for American Progress.https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/religion/report/2011/08/26/10165/fear-inc/Fear, Inc.: The Roots of the Islamophobia Network in America],“ Wajahat Ali, Eli Clifton, Matthew Duss, Lee Fang, Scott Keyes, and Faiz Shakir. [Google Scholar]) and European Islamophobia Report 2015 (Bayrakli and Hafez 2016Bayrakli, Enes, and Farid Hafez, eds. 2016European Islamophobia Report 2015Istanbul & Washington, DCSETA. [Google Scholar]).View all notes and internally they have been confronted by numerous intra-religious differences and theological disagreements. These have, in turn, given rise to public dissensions and discord that caused the majority of adherents under traditionally minded religious leaders to pursue a policy of “ostrakonophobia.”22 This researcher searched the long list of words that describe the various phobias and he was unable to find a word that captures the “fear of being ostracized.” He thus coined this term that he derived from the Greek word: ostrakon (visit: www.fearof.net and www.phobialist.com).View all notes By this, it is meant that they applied an ad hoc policy that, to some extent, struck fear in the hearts and minds of individuals and groups who dreaded being publicly ostracized, shunned, repudiated, banned, and excluded.

Many historical examples come to the fore when reflecting upon intra-religious conflict among Muslim communities residing in (for example, Pakistan [Saeed 2007Saeed, Sadia. 2007. “Pakistani Nationalism and the State Marginalisation of the Ahmadiyya Community in Pakistan.” Studies in Ethnicity and Nationalism 7 (3): 132152. doi: 10.1111/j.1754-9469.2007.tb00166.x[Crossref] [Google Scholar]], Talbot 2007Talbot, Ian. 2007. “Religion and Violence: The Historical Context for Conflict in Pakistan.” In Religion and Violence in South Asia: Theory and Practice, edited by John Hinnels and RichardKing147163LondonRoutledge. [Google Scholar]) and outside (for example, Indonesia [Panggabean 2016Panggabean, Samsu R. 2016. “Policing Sectarian Conflict in Indonesia: The Case of Shi’ism.” In Religion, Law and Intolerance in Indonesia, edited by Tim Lindsey, and HelenPausacker271288LondonRoutledge.[Crossref] [Google Scholar]; Schafer 2018Schafer, Saskia. 2018. “Ahmadis or Indonesians? The Polarization of Post-Reform Public Debates on Islam and Orthodoxy.” Critical Asian Studies 50 (1): 1636. doi: 10.1080/14672715.2017.1404925[Taylor & Francis Online][Web of Science ®] [Google Scholar]]) the Muslim heartlands. More than a century ago, for example, two groups, which emerged within pre-dominantly Muslim states, namely Iran and Pakistan (Jamil 2002Jamil, Uzma. 2002. “Minorities and ‘Islamic States’: Explaining Bahai and Ahmadi Marginalization.” Unpublished MA Thesis., McGill University. [Google Scholar]), were theologically ostracized from the house of Islam. At the end of the 19th century, among the first to be rejected for their philosophy and religious outlook was Baha’ullah (d.1892) and the Baha’i faith adherents (Buck 2003Buck, Christopher. 2003. “Islam and Minorities: The Case of the Bahai’s.” Studies in Contemporary Islam 1 (2): 86103. [Google Scholar]). The second group to be repudiated for their beliefs were the Ahmadis,33 The Ahmadis are also referred to the Lahoris and they have been challenged by their theological siblings, namely the Qadiyanis who consider themselves the authentic followers of Mirza.View all notes whose founder was Mirza Ghulam Ahmed (d.1908 hereafter referred to as “Mirza”).44 Ehsan Rehan reported on November 12, 2017 that Allama Iqbal Bahisti, who was the secretary general of Majlis Wahdat—e-Muslimin and a key Shi’ite theologian, warned about the dangers that both the Bahais and Ahmadis posed; this is rather ironic during the current period knowing that many theologians in the Sunni world have also condemned the Shi’ites to be outside the fold of Islam! Ehsan Rehan, “Pakistani Shia Cleric Warns of Dangers Posed by Baha’is & Ahmadis,” Rabwah Times, 12 November 2017. See Ahmadiyya Anjuman Ishàat Islam Lahore Inc. U.S.A. “Ahmadiyya Movement Contrasted with the Bahai Religion.” http://www.muslim.org/intro/bah.htm and Fuad Al-Attar, “The Difference between Ahmadis and Bahais.” Ahmadiyya: Inviting to Islam (blog), 7 January 2012. The latter provides a simplistic comparative view.View all notes The respective religious leaders of these two nascent groups offered divergent understandings of revelation and prophecy (Jamil 2002Jamil, Uzma. 2002. “Minorities and ‘Islamic States’: Explaining Bahai and Ahmadi Marginalization.” Unpublished MA Thesis., McGill University. [Google Scholar]).

The Baha’is and Qadiyanis, according to their respective founders’ claims and their ardent followers’ understandings, held the view that they were indeed recipients of revelation; and they were hence inspired prophets. They were somewhat similar to and on par with the earlier prophets who were sent by God. Related to this Khan (2015Khan, Adil H. 2015From Sufism to Ahmadiyya: A Muslim Minority Movement in South AsiaBloomingtonIndiana University Press. [Google Scholar]) mentioned that Mirza, however, regarded himself as a non-legislative prophet; but despite this self-understanding the Qadiyanis’ theological rivals, the Ahmadis, with whom they engaged in semantic squabbles over the use and interpretation of terminologies in the end split and charted out a theological path of their own (Khan 2015Khan, Adil H. 2015From Sufism to Ahmadiyya: A Muslim Minority Movement in South AsiaBloomingtonIndiana University Press. [Google Scholar]). Nonetheless, the theological assertions by both the Qadiyanis and Ahmadis contradicted the declarations made by religious authorities of the Ahl-As-Sunna wa-al-Jama’at(ASJ) (People Who Follow the Prophetic Path and Unity),55 Though popularly referred to as the ‘Ulama[that is, the learned scholars], in this essay they will be referred as Muslim theologians or alternatively as religious authorities.View all notes who represent the majority interpretation. The ASJ hold onto the uncompromising view that Prophet Muhammad was God’s last messenger who was the recipient of God’s final message, namely the Qur’an. So, from an orthodox Muslim perspective, this belief alongside the declaration that there is no other deity except God, is a non-negotiable principle. The ASJ and its representative theological bodies have thus continuously argued against the sacrilegious and heretical teachings of the Bahais and Qadiyanis/Ahmadis.

This article, which does not reflect on the Qadiyanis, gives its attention to the Ahmadis, who, oddly, see themselves theologically closer to ASJ. The Ahmadis, besides having set themselves apart from ASJ, also assumed the title Ahmadiyya Anjuman-i Isha῾at-i Islam in Lahore (Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement for the Propagation of Islam) to distinguish themselves from the Qadiyanis. As a modern reformist movement led by Maulana Muhammad Ali, who led the break-away faction from the Qadiyanis, the Ahmadis took on this identity to illustrate how different they are from others, and they thus strategically employed their resources to undertake mission to all and sundry. Since the Ahmadis considered mission as a central cog in their community’s philosophy and practice they dedicated themselves in this religious venture, and as a consequence they established branches globally and this included the African continent.

Though a section of this article assesses the relationship that developed between the Ahmadis and the orthodox African Muslim communities over much of the twentieth, it also hones in on the conflict that emerged between these two religious communities within environments where both experience degrees of freedom of religion or belief. Since it is beyond the article’s scope to discuss their relationship in all the African countries, it zooms in on specific cases that illustrate the nature of the conflict and the tendentious relationship that emerged in spite of the religious freedom that had been guaranteed by state constitutions. With this in mind, the article opens conceptualizing “Muslim authority” before it charts the Ahmadis’ social history in Africa.

Muslim Authority: Identity and Status

Whenever the collective Muslim leadership describes the communities that each of them represent, they do so by stressing their Sunni identity and by extension that they are Ahl-As-Sunna wa-al-Jama’at (ASJ). Even though it is rather difficult to trace and locate the exact origins of the term, its construction and employment were intended to distinguish themselves as a religious group from others such as the Shi’ites and Ibadis with whom they differed theologically and jurisprudentially. But since other religious minorities, such as the Baha’is and Ahmadis, emerged out of the house of Islam, they stressed its use in order to highlight their deep religious differences. Being in the majority, the ASJ adherents are generally represented by trained theologians and jurists. These individuals, who have been classified as “Muslim authorities” and who regard themselves as the prophet’s intellectual cum spiritual inheritors, appropriated their positions by, among other means, issuing fatwas (legal opinions) that act as guides in both majority Muslim societies (such as in West Africa) and in minority Muslim communities (such as East Africa) (Kramer and Schimdtke 2006Kramer, Gudren, and Sabine Schimdtke, eds. 2006Speaking for Islam: Religious Authorities in Muslim SocietiesLeidenE.J. Brill. Oguntayo, Ibrahim. 2016.https://www.vanguardngr.com/2016/11/future-ahmadiyya-nigeria-beyond-first-century/[Crossref] [Google Scholar]). Furthermore, these Muslim authorities see themselves as spokespersons on behalf of the Muslims, and as a result of their status they hold theological power and influence.

Since reference is being made to “Muslim authority” (or “religious authority”), it is necessary to briefly unpack the phrase and tie it in with the issues that will be discussed further in this essay. For the purpose of this section, one draws upon Kramer and Schimdtke’s (2006Kramer, Gudren, and Sabine Schimdtke, eds. 2006Speaking for Islam: Religious Authorities in Muslim SocietiesLeidenE.J. Brill. Oguntayo, Ibrahim. 2016.https://www.vanguardngr.com/2016/11/future-ahmadiyya-nigeria-beyond-first-century/[Crossref] [Google Scholar]) informative introduction. They state, “Religious authority is an elusive concept and notoriously difficult to define.” They explain this indefinable term through the ideas of sociologist Max Weber (d.1920) who described “authority … (as) the ability … to have one’s rules and rulings followed, or obeyed, without recourse to coercive power.” And they asserted that, “It is indeed the very absence of coercion that for Weber distinguishes authority (Autorität) from power (Macht).” Taking into account these theoretical notions associated with the term, they add that,

Religious authority can assume a number of forms and functions: the ability (chance, power, or right) to define correct belief and practice, or orthodoxy and orthopraxy, respectively; to shape and influence the views and conduct of others accordingly; to identify, marginalize, punish or exclude deviance, heresy and apostasy and their agents and advocates.

A careful scrutiny of their thoughts reminds one of the role that Muslim authorities play in Muslim societies: They are “agents of social change.” They are the ones who draw thick lines between belief and unbelief. They are individuals who highlight acts regarded as irregular and unacceptable. They are the theologians who point out aberrant thoughts that might lead to heresy or apostasy, as was the case with the Ahmadis (Kramer and Schimdtke 2006Kramer, Gudren, and Sabine Schimdtke, eds. 2006Speaking for Islam: Religious Authorities in Muslim SocietiesLeidenE.J. Brill. Oguntayo, Ibrahim. 2016.https://www.vanguardngr.com/2016/11/future-ahmadiyya-nigeria-beyond-first-century/[Crossref] [Google Scholar]).

From this, one can gauge that Muslim authority holds a critical position in Muslim society. Muslim authorities find themselves in that position because of the theological and jurisprudential knowledge that they accumulated in a recognized Muslim institution such as Saudi Arabia’s International Islamic University of Medina or Muslim theological seminary such as India’s Darul-Ulum Deoband. These institutions provide them with the license to pronounce over issues that are acceptable (halal) and non-acceptable (haram). In other words, they have been authorized to act in the interest of the Muslim society as a whole, and their position is viewed religiously legitimate, since they also hold “sacred power” through their interpretation of Islam’s primary sources, namely the Qur’an and hadith. They are, to word it differently, Islam’s gatekeepers or caretakers.

Being its caretakers means that they are indeed the ones who have the “right,” as inheritors of the mantle of the Prophets, to apply their minds to any aspect of Muslim law. They are the ones who may opine whether one may marry an Ahmadi or not, and they have the authority to consider and decide whether Ahmadis or other groups (such as the Baha’is) are Muslim or not Muslim. Since this is what many of them generally do, it is perhaps an opportune moment to turn to Africa, where Muslim authorities have resided for generations and where many fatwas have been issued against unorthodox individuals and groups. To address the theological conflicts that occurred and the juridical opinions that were issued with regards to the Ahmadi teachings on the African continent, the present analysis takes into account freedom of religion or belief (FoRB) policies (Hackett 2011Hackett, Rosalind. 2011. “Regulating Freedom of Religion in Africa.” Emory International Law Review25 (1): 854879. [Google Scholar]; See Simmie 3Simmie, Tsedenya. 2017Religious Freedom and Society in AfricaNew Haven, CTThe Whitney and Betty MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies, Yale University, 3 May. [Google Scholar] May 2017Simmie, Tsedenya. 2017Religious Freedom and Society in AfricaNew Haven, CTThe Whitney and Betty MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies, Yale University, 3 May. [Google Scholar]) that have been adopted across the continent. At this juncture and to that end, the essay provides a brief historical and demographic assessment of both Africa’s traditional Muslim communities and the nonconformist Ahmadi communities using a few case studies.

Africa’s Muslim Communities and the Ahmadis

Africa has been the home of Muslim communities for centuries and historical records clearly mentioned that Muslims made contact during the prophetic period in the seventh century. However, Muslims connected with East and West Africa later than that; ties with the former were made during the ninth and tenth centuries and with the latter during the eleventh and twelfth centuries. From then onwards, the nascent Muslim communities developed themselves and made immeasurable contributions to the continent. Apart from having made inputs to the continent’s economy, such as creating lively commercial trading centers along the Swahili-speaking Coastal areas, they also made substantial inputs to the production of literature in thriving intellectual cities such as Mali’s Timbuktu; and they, in addition, contributed towards the transformation of the regional languages such as Ki-Swahili, Fulfulde, Makhuwa, and Afrikaans through the use of the pliable Arabic script.

One may, therefore, argue that the assortment of Muslim communities that resided in different parts of the continent made an indelible input that no social historian or geographer can ignore. So, one may confidently state that between the ninth century and the 19th century Muslims made certain that they made qualitative inputs in all spheres and that they left their footprints in each sector from which subsequent generations could benefit; the plethora of yet unedited manuscripts in Timbuktu is a typical example. So, by the time the Ahmadis consciously extended their ideas beyond South Asia through dedicated mission during the early part of the 20th century, they found Muslim communities that were active, dynamic, and inventive (Fisher 1963Fisher, Humphrey. 1963Ahmadiyyah: A Study in Contemporary Islam on the West African CoastOxfordOxford University Press. [Google Scholar]). However, while one commends these Muslims for having made their mark continentally through their efforts in commerce and education, one also comes across sections of these Muslim communities that were ill-informed about all aspects of their religion; these adopted a syncretic approach that weaved in aspects of Islam into their practicing cultures.

African culture played a pivotal role in the make-up of their identity, and even though they were taught Islam’s basics, such as the performance of the obligatory rituals, they lacked knowledge of notions of God’s oneness and deeper theological cum jurisprudential issues—hence their reliance on the Muslim authorities who were equipped with theological and jurisprudential knowledge. At this point, one should perhaps take a closer look at the Ahmadis’ theology, which they subtly stressed and dexterously disseminated among some of Africa’s theologically defenseless Muslim communities. Long before the Ahmadis began their mission in earnest on the African continent, they had developed their ideas that were based on Mirza’s teachings in South Asia, particularly Pakistan, where “the movement”—as they sometimes described themselves—started. One may too opine that African Muslims were and perhaps still are somewhat ill-informed about the views of Mirza’s theological ideas and interpretation. This argument is based partially on a 2012 Pew Research Center survey that was concurrently undertaken in South Asian and Southeast Asian nations where Muslims were in the majority (e.g. Pakistan) or were were a significant minority (e.g. Thailand). If one looks at the data in the table below, one is intrigued by the statistics (Table 1) .

Table 1. Ahmadis—Muslims or not?

Taking Pakistan and Bangladesh as South Asian examples, one notes that 7 percent of the Pakistanis who were interviewed stated that Ahmadis were Muslims, in contrast with 40 percent of Bangladeshis who opined differently. When turning to Southeast Asia, the statistics revealed that 16 percent Malaysians and 12 percent Indonesians viewed Ahmadis to be Muslims, as opposed to 23 percent Malaysians and 78 percent Indonesians, who considered them not to be Muslims. Interestingly, the statistic showed that 70 percent Thai Muslims and 61 percent Malay Muslims had never heard of the Ahmadis. These are indeed justifiably high percentages compared to Bangladesh’s 28 percent and Pakistan’s 26 percent of Muslims who had never heard of Ahmadis—these being two countries where one might assume the population might know more about Ahmadis as a separate religious group. The statistics underline that even though the Ahmadis have been around for more than a century as a distinct marginal religious community, albeit in a contested relationship with ASJ Muslim authorities, they were basically an unknown entity in three predominantly Muslim states by certain sections of their populations. And this is, of course, very different from the significant Thai Muslim community, who live in a mainly Buddhist society in which they have to deal with a different set of socio-political and religious challenges in trying to keep their identity as Muslims intact.

Nonetheless, when considering these responses and transferring them to Africa’s Muslim communities, one can find similar, if not more startling, responses. The rationale for this is based on two assumptions: the first is that some African Muslim communities do not enjoy comparable exposure to Islam’s teachings as their Bangladeshi and Malaysian counterparts, and the second is that the Muslims form part of a religious plural environment in which they have shown tolerance towards others who adhere to different beliefs and practices. In fact, in West Africa there are small pockets of Muslim communities that have fused their traditional practices with those of Islam, but they have not been ostracized, except in a few places.

Setting aside these assumptions and taking another slight detour prior to turning to the Ahmadis’ African mission, the following pertinent issues should be factored in when assessing the Ahl-As-Sunna wa-al-Jama’at’s(ASJ) theological posture towards them: Firstly, when assessing the approaches of the two groups towards Islam’s primary sources, it is clear that ASJ adherents express an orthodox position; whereas the Ahmadis/Qadiyanis embrace a heterodox one. Secondly, there is another critical difference that is related to the question of prophethood–a non-negotiable principle according to the orthodox view. On this matter the conformist ASJ, who determinedly believe that Prophet Muhammad was God’s final messenger, diametrically oppose both the unorthodox Qadiyanis and Ahmadis. The Qadiyanis, basing themselves on Mirza’s writings and pronouncements, have unwaveringly argued that Mirza was an inspired prophet. Their theologians reasoned that the Quranic word “seal” should be interpreted figuratively and not literally, as was generally understood by the orthodox interpreters. From this, the Qadiyanis derived the notion that Prophet Muhammad was not the last and final prophet. Thirdly, the Qadiyanis opined, as a consequence of this theological reasoning that those who do not accept Mirza as the promised Messiah are kafir. Kays (2006Kays, Abdul. 2006The Disciple of Dajjal: Exposing Mirza Ghulam Ahmed Qadiani’s Weird Creed. Revised & Abridged. Crown Mines. JohannesburgAl-Ilmu Noor Publications. [Google Scholar]) quoted Mirza as writing in his Kalimat ul-Fasl that “if one does not accept the revelations of the Promised Messiah … then such a rejector becomes a ‘kaafir’!”

In response to these reflections, the Ahmadis broke away from the Qadiyanis, arguing that Mirza’s pronouncements were misunderstood and that he did not say that he was a prophet. Instead, the Ahmadis averred that Mirza conveyed the notion that he was a reformer, in contrast to the Qadiyanis, who emphatically stated that Mirza was not only God’s promised Mahdi (awaited-one) and Christ’s Messiah, but also a prophet (Khan 2015Khan, Adil H. 2015From Sufism to Ahmadiyya: A Muslim Minority Movement in South AsiaBloomingtonIndiana University Press. [Google Scholar]).66 See “Difference Between Sunni and Ahmadi,” DifferenceBetween.net, c. June 2010; “What are the main difference between Ahmadiyyas and other Muslims?” Quora.com, c. July 2015.View all notes Despite the Ahmadis’ altered theological position, the ASJ vehemently condemned them along with the Qadiyanis. The ASJ Muslim authorities issued the legal view that the Qadiyanis and the Ahmadis were outside Islam’s fold. These authorities opined that their beliefs caused a great deal of consternation among all ASJ adherents. Even the Shi’ites, who expressed their discomfort with the theological views of the Qadiyanis and Ahmadis, were ironically categorized by a few extremist ASJ theologians to be outside Islam’s fold too. Though the ASJ Muslim authorities formulated their legal stance towards these two groups since the 1910s (Kays 2006Kays, Abdul. 2006The Disciple of Dajjal: Exposing Mirza Ghulam Ahmed Qadiani’s Weird Creed. Revised & Abridged. Crown Mines. JohannesburgAl-Ilmu Noor Publications. [Google Scholar]), both groups managed to survive the mainstream Muslim authorities’ persistent verbal and physical onslaught in both majority and minority settings. During the second half of the 20th century when international human rights instruments were developed and put in place, some of the bodies that worked in the interest of upholding human rights principles categorized the Ahmadis as “a persecuted religious group,” a group that had not only been marginalized and ostracized, but also been mistreated and victimized by dominant Muslim communities in countries such as Pakistan and Indonesia (Talbot 2007Talbot, Ian. 2007. “Religion and Violence: The Historical Context for Conflict in Pakistan.” In Religion and Violence in South Asia: Theory and Practice, edited by John Hinnels and RichardKing147163LondonRoutledge. [Google Scholar]; Ahmad 2017Ahmad, Usman. 2017Ahmadi Persecution: A Global IssueLondonTony Blair Global Studies Institute, June 21. [Google Scholar]). Hence, their constant appeal for the application of these instruments and their quest for the legal protection against states and communities that continue to discriminate against them on religious grounds.

The Ahmadis’ African Mission: Historical Vignettes of Selected Communities

Amidst the Ahmadis’ appeals and quest for protection in South and Southeast Asian nations of Pakistan and Indonesia, it seems that the Ahmadis have generally not faced such types of discrimination and persecution in Africa, where they began to settle in the early 1900s. In fact, when they landed on African soil and as they gradually began to do mission among Africa’s Muslim and non-Muslim communities, they socialized and interacted with communities that were very much occupied with their socio-political and cultural identities during the latter part of the colonial period. By the time the Ahmadis settled in and adjusted to the African environment, the existing Muslim communities, as well as others, were oblivious to the group’s theological teachings, and they accepted them as members of the Muslim ummah (that is, nation/society) without critically probing their theological ideas.

One may, however, postulate that the African Muslims’ attention was not so much concerned with the internal theological disagreements, and that they were more worried about the colonial rulers’ oppressive system and the Christian missionaries’, who challenged their African Muslim beliefs and practices. Since they found themselves to be defenseless, not being able to counter theologically, they sought assistance from other quarters; it was at this point in time that the Ahmadis met up with vulnerable African communities and used the opportunity to do their intended mission. So, one may state that the Ahmadis came into Africa at an opportune period. It was a time when the local Muslim authorities were helpless, since they did not know how to correctly counter Christian missionary activities. Thus, they relied on the skillful approach of the Ahmadis’ preachers who “rescued” them from Africa’s expansive Christian campaigners in different parts of the continent.

The Christian missionaries, who had set up “mission schools” and who had actively spread the Gospel, found their match in the Ahmadi preachers. During that period Ahl-As-Sunna wa-al-Jama’at authorities were ill-equipped to deal with the Christian missionaries, for they were unfamiliar with the Gospel, nor did they have in-depth knowledge about Christianity as such. Being skilled in and knowledgeable of methods of conversion, the Ahmadi proselytizers who were prepared for these eventualities thus aided these Muslim communities, salvaging them from the Gospel-filled hands of the Christian evangelists, who they saw as an extended part of the colonial powers. In these eyes of these Muslim communities, colonial rulers not only subjugated them through oppressive decrees, but also used their educational institutions as instruments of conversion, hence the African Muslim communities’ aversion to attending modern colonial mission schools.

At this point, it is appropriate to summarily describe the Ahmadis’ presence in certain parts of the African continent. The graph above reveals that the highest number of Ahmadis is to be found in Nigeria, Benin, and Tanzania; in these countries their numbers have reached over two million and together they record close to eight million members. Even though their numbers in Guinea Bissau and Egypt are miniscule, they are numerically larger than those found in Southern Africa where Ahmadis only number about 2,000 adherents (Figure 1) .

Figure 1. Ahmadis’ presence in Africa. Data Sourced: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ahmadiyya_by_country.

West Africa’s Ahmadis

Ibrahim Oguntayo (2016),77 Ibrahim Oguntayo, “Future of Ahmadiyya in Nigeria: Beyond the First Century.” Vanguard, 25 November 2016.View all notes in his capacity as the Publicity Committee for Centenary Celebrations of the Nigerian branch of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamat (as they are called), mentioned that, “The root of Ahmadiyya Nigeria Muslim Jamaat was planted in 1916 when the spread of the message of the Promised Messiah, Hazrat Ghulam Ahmad was brought to the newly amalgamated Northern and Southern protectorates in Nigeria.” In 2016, the Nigerians held their 64th annual convention (Jalsa Salana) to mark their hundred-year anniversary of Ahmadi existence in Nigeria. The event called “for a deep reflection on the contributions of the Jamaat to Nigeria’s development.” In Oguntayo’s informed opinion, the Ahmadis have made substantial contributions to Islam’s spread. For some reason, he did not say much about Nigeria’s rich past, of which Usman don Fodio (d.1817) was and remained a great Muslim leader in West Africa.

Nonetheless, he glowingly stated that, unlike other African states in the region, the Ahmadis succeeded in establishing 493 branches across all states. Over the Ahmadis’ hundred years in Nigeria, they set up elementary and secondary schools, and health care centers. In addition, they had, since 1966, published The Truth as their mouthpiece. In Kays’ (2006Kays, Abdul. 2006The Disciple of Dajjal: Exposing Mirza Ghulam Ahmed Qadiani’s Weird Creed. Revised & Abridged. Crown Mines. JohannesburgAl-Ilmu Noor Publications. [Google Scholar], 47) sensationally written text, he had this to say: “Mirzaees discovered that Nigeria … (was) fertile ground for spreading their weird creed. Readers of ‘The Truth’, Mirzaee organ from Lagos, will have observed how Ahmadees attempt to indoctrinate the reader with Mirza as a prophet.” He further stated that,

One of the reasons for deceiving the Nigerian Muslim easily is that his language is not Urdu … and they may also not be aware that Mirza was a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde … including as an agent of the imperialists.

During the time when the Ahmadis were settling in and expanding in Nigeria and making headway with their mission, they cast their sights on neighboring states. The second stop in West Africa was the Gold Coast, known today as Ghana,88 “Ahmadiyya in Ghana,” Wikipedia, accessed July 2018.View all notes (Samwini 2006Samwini, Nathan. 2006Muslim Resurgence in Ghana Since 1951: Its Effects upon Muslims and Christian-Muslim RelationsMünsterLIT Verlag. [Google Scholar]; Turkson 2007Turkson, Peter K. 2007Ghana: If Islam becomes an Enigma. Oasis, January 10. MilanFoundation International. [Google Scholar]; Acquah 2011Acquah, Francis. 2011. “The Impact of African Traditional Religious Beliefs and Cultural Values on Christian-Muslim Relations in Ghana from 1920 through the Present: A Case Study of Nkusukum-Ekumfi-Enyan Area of the Central Region.” Unpublished Thesis., University of Exeter. [Google Scholar]; Hanson 2017Hanson, John. 2017The Ahmadiyya in the Gold Coast: Muslim Cosmopolitans in the British EmpireBloomingtonIndiana University Press.[Crossref] [Google Scholar]). The Ahmadis’ foremost missionary at that time was Abdul Rahim Nayyar who was, in fact, invited by a group of Muslims from Saltpond, and this happened during the period when the Ahmadis’ Second Caliphate was in charge. After having laid the foundations in 1921, Nayyar departed, but he was replaced by the Ahmadis’ first permanent missionary by the name of Al Hajj Fadl-ul-Rahman Hakim in 1922. According to Samwini (2006Samwini, Nathan. 2006Muslim Resurgence in Ghana Since 1951: Its Effects upon Muslims and Christian-Muslim RelationsMünsterLIT Verlag. [Google Scholar]), the Ahmadis depended much on Hakim’s skills, and he was ably supported by a Fante interpreter. Hakim, who conducted his lectures along the Gold Coast’s southern coast in the public, made profuse use of the Quran and the Bible. He, for example, spoke about how “The Bible shows Jesus did not die on the cross.” At times, these polemical topics attracted the interest of many Christians, but they also led to intra-Muslim conflict, since the orthodox Muslims did not subscribe to this Ahmadi view regarding Jesus. Besides preaching publicly, the Ahmadis made great efforts to set up a school, but they failed to do so for more than twenty years. It was only by 1950 that the situation changed. By then, the Ahmadis’ numbers had increased substantially, and they opened the doors of their first senior secondary school in Kumasi. Regionally, Ghana became the home of the second largest Ahmadi community, which according to the latest census shows that their numbers have reached 635,000. From the graph above, it seems that the Ahmadis’ demographics changed substantially during the latter part of the 20th century.

East and South Africa’s Ahmadis

Moving to East Africa. where Tanzania99 Ahmaddiya Muslim Jamaat Tanzania, “A Brief History.” http://ahmadiyyatz.org/a-brief-history/.View all notes has a sizeable Ahmadi community numbering more than 2 million, it should be noted that missionaries came to Lake Tanganika’s shores two decades before the Ahmadi community initiated their activities in Nigeria. According to the Tanzanian Ahmadis, two of Mirza’s companions, namely Hadhrat Munshi Muhammad Afzal Sahib and Hadhrat Mirza Abdullah Sahib, landed in East Africa during 1896. Subsequent to their visit, a few more came, among them Dr. Muhammad Ismail Giryanwi who was an Indian military doctor. Since they encountered a few challenges as they tried to expand their activities, they sought assistance from Qadian, the small Indian town from where Mirza established his theological movement. Their request for help coincided with the Tahrik-e-Jadid (history and renewal) scheme, a project that aimed to universalize the Ahmadi message. Hadhrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmood Ahmad, Mirza’s son, responded and he sent Shaykh Mubarak Ahmad on October 10, 1910, as the first Amir of the Ahmadis in East Africa.

By 1923, the Ahmadis published Al-Balagh to proclaim the Ahmadi message, and by 1930 they had built their first Nairobi-based mosque. Alongside these developments, the Shaykh circulated in 1936 the first issue of Mapenzi ya Mungu (God’s Love), their newspaper. It was a vehicle used against the Christians, who expressed the view that “we can only be saved by the blood of Jesus” in pamphlets they disseminated. The Shaykh saw it appropriate to use the pages of the new newspaper to refute the ideas of the Christians. He, according to the online report,1010 Ahmaddiya Muslim Jamaat Tanzania, “A brief history.”View all notes responded to these pamphlets by stating that human beings can “only be saved by the love of God.” He saw the newspaper, which was issued in East Africa’s lingua franca, as that critical vehicle.

As a result of the Shaykh’s sterling mission work since he arrived, the community founded the Sheikh Mubarak Ahmad Ahmadi Muslim School in 1937 and it was strategically set up in Tanzania’s Tabora. The reason for choosing this town was because it was a key Christian center that represented all denominations. It was also the home of the best secondary school country-wide, and it was set up in the vicinity of the important Christian Theological College for Priests. At this point one needs to fast-forward and mention that a year after Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih IV’s official visit, Tanzania’s Ahmadis celebrated their centenary in 1989. The event was celebrated with all sorts of activities, and a special edition of the newspaper was printed. The celebrations were followed by the Dawat ili-Allah (mission to God) campaign that gave way to the formation of mission houses that facilitated the process of Bai’at, the swearing of allegiance to the Ahmadi Khaliph.

Between the time the magazine, Al-Balagh, was circulating and the first mosque was built in East Africa, a delegation with Al-Haj Lord Sir Rowland George Allanson Allanson-Winn, Baron Headley (d.1935) among them went on a visit to South Africa.1111 Majlis Khuddam-ul-Ahmadiyya, South Africa. “About: What is the Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association?,” http://khuddam.org.za/about.View all notes Unlike Tanzania and Nigeria, where contact had been made and official branches established, the Ahmadi connection in South Africa was only made in mid-1920s when Woking’s Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din and Lord Headley officially visited South Africa to undertake their mission. This was reported in the short-lived Cape Town based magazine, the Moslem Outlook.1212 The Moslem Outlook, 20 February 1926, http://www.wokingmuslim.org/work/s-africa-is-rev.htm and http://www.wokingmuslim.org/pers/headley.htm.View all notes According to Ebrahim (2015Ebrahim, Zaid. 2015. “History of the Ahmadiyya Jamat South Africa.” Al-Asr 55 (1): 3031. [Google Scholar]), the Ahmadis officially established themselves at the Cape in 1958 under the inspiration of Hadhrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmad. In 2018, their members celebrated their sixtieth year on South African soil with numbers still not reaching more than 500.

During Dr. Yusuf Sulaiman’s visit to the Ahmadis’ headquarters in Pakistan, the latter gave a sermon in which he identified South Africa as a place where a branch should be set up. Ebrahim quoted the following portion of a sermon delivered on March 8, 1946, which appeared in The Sunrise of March 23, 1946:

South Africa would now be on the Ahmadiyya Tabligh Map in as much as a South African, Dr. Y. Sulaiman who was educated in England and who qualified for medical degree intended now to devote himself to work for Islam in this part of the world.

Between 1946 and 1951, Sulaiman preached to individuals from his Cape Town home, where he also held jumu’ah and ‘Id ritual prayers. Having worked in earnest, Sulaiman eventually succeeded in convincing those with whom he interacted to join the Ahmadi community. Among those who responded to the Ahmadi invitation was Muhammad Hashim Ebrahim (d.1985) and members of his family. It was this family that laid the grounds for the center in 1958. Another family from the Qadiyani school that also joined the ranks was the Hargey family.

Among the significant outcomes of the Ahmadis’ presence in South Africa were two court cases that took place at the beginnings of the 1980s and the 1990s, respectively. These were discussed by Aziz (2008Aziz, Zahid. 2008A Survey of the Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement: History, Beliefs, Aims and WorkLondonAhmadiyya Anjuman Lahore Publications. [Google Scholar]) and analyzed by Qadir (2016Qadir, Ali. 2016. “How Heresy Makes Orthodoxy: The Sedimentation of Sunnism in the Ahmadi Cases of South Africa.” Sociology of Islam 4 (4): 345367. doi: 10.1163/22131418-00404001[Crossref] [Google Scholar]). These legal challenges took place during the South African apartheid system which paradoxically permitted minority religious traditions such as Islam to be practiced, though the apartheid authorities restricted their practices to the religious rituals only. In this context one may ask: What was the nature of this “religious freedom” or “freedom of religion or belief (FoRB)”?

FoRB Policies in Africa’s Religious Plural Environment

FoRB: Its Conceptualization

The past few years have brought the issuance of a plethora of documents, declarations, instruments, and policies that not only identified but that explained, explored, and examined the nature of FoRB across the Commonwealth. These documents remain essential ingredients of the democratic society that is protected by the international legal system (Cross 2015Cross, Frank B. 2015Constitutions and Religious FreedomCambridgeCambridge University Press. [Google Scholar]). In a revised “Freedom of Religion or Belief Toolkit,” issued by the British Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) in 2016, FCO offered a useful definition of FoRB that is quite fitting for this article’s contents (FCO 2016). The FCO stressed that FoRB has far-reaching and profound implications and that, this being the case, it should be viewed as “the key human right” for Ahmadis around the Commonwealth, as advocated by Baroness Anelay in the opening epigram of this article. The FCO categorically specified that FoRB “encompasses not just the freedom to hold personal thoughts and convictions, but also being able to manifest them individually or with others, publicly or in private.” When considering the FCO’s policy position, then this indeed applies to the Ahmadis who should be permitted to freely subscribe to their theological stance even though ASJ adherents oppose their beliefs and practices.

Islamic law scholar Abdullahi An-Naim (2012An-Naim, Abdullahi. 2012. “Experiences of Religious Freedom in an African Context – Universal Rights in a World of Diversity: The Case of Religious Freedom.” Acta 17: 193211. Rome: Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences. [Google Scholar]) offers a considerably different understanding in making the point that, “freedoms of religion is necessary for each human person to pursue what she(/he) holds as the ultimate purpose and meaning of her(/his) life.” He further notes, idealistically, “freedom of religion and other human rights are both a means and end of societal solidarity and cooperation among believers and non-believers.” An-Na’im asserts, perhaps a bit hastily, that this ideal can become a reality if two goals are achieved: the first is to enthusiastically encourage the pursuance of pivotal values such as tolerance and respect for others across all religious traditions and among diverse communities without exception (Donald and Howard 2015Donald, Alice, and Erica Howard2015The Right to Freedom of Religion or Belieft and its Intersection with Other RightsBrusselsILGA-Europe. [Google Scholar]), and the second is to resist and restrain any sort of exclusivist inclinations or hegemonic tendencies that undermine and destabilize the “freedom of religion” policy. This type of ideal scenario, if ever realized, would work in the Ahmadis’ interests. Unfortunately, however, in countries such as Pakistan and Indonesia, hegemonic propensities have erupted that have caused Ahmadis a great deal discomfort as a result of their beliefs and identity. The question that emerges is: To what extent have the Ahmadis faced similar harassments and maltreatments at the hands of ASJ adherents in African countries where they reside? In order to answer this question, it is necessary to return to at least two African countries that were described earlier.

Elizabeth Shakman Hurd’s book Beyond Religious Freedom (2015Hurd, Elizabeth Shakman. 2015Beyond Religious Freedom: The New Global Politics of ReligionPrinceton, NJPrinceton University Press.[Crossref] [Google Scholar]) studied, among other religious minorities, Turkey’s Alevi community. According to Hurd, the Alevis were treated by the Turkish government as a “heterodox” community, some of whom wish to be seen as a strand within non-Sunni Islam. Similarly, the Ahmadis who have been ill-treated by Pakistani’s ASJ Muslim authorities (representing Sunni Islam) would also want to be seen as a theological school within the broader Sunni Islamic tradition, even though they stand apart from it in their interpretation of the primary sources. ASJ Muslim authorities in both majority and minority environments exercised their power and influence, thereby reducing the Ahmadis’ claims for legal recognition as bona fide Muslims. In spite of all the ASJ Muslim authorities’ attempts in so doing, the Ahmadis managed to persist in claiming their religious space alongside Sunni Islam.

In the case of the Alevis, Hurd (2015Hurd, Elizabeth Shakman. 2015Beyond Religious Freedom: The New Global Politics of ReligionPrinceton, NJPrinceton University Press.[Crossref] [Google Scholar]) makes a further pertinent point that may also be applied to the Ahmadis, when she states, “To refuse identity-based recognition for such already existing groups … is to obstruct democratization and hinder the emergence of tolerant legal regimes for managing religious diversity.” When thinking about the Ahmadis and their respective positions in majority and minority Muslim communities around the world, then one can argue that ASJ Muslim authorities have contributed to undermining FoRB policy by not recognizing the Ahmadis’ rightful place within a democratic society, given that their beliefs differ markedly from other Muslim communities. The ideal of FoRB of which An-Na’im speaks seems to be far-fetched, as a result of the ASJ Muslim authorities’ determinedly exclusivist theological stance towards the Ahmadis. The attitude and approach of these authorities in communities where they have been influential demands further consideration of African countries—in particular, to assess whether the Ahmadis have suffered as their counterparts and in Pakistan and, more importantly, whether FoRB policies have been taken for granted and ignored.

Africa’s Muslim Authorities: Exercising Theological Power, Curbing Ahmadi Beliefs

Mention has already been made of the fact that, when the Ahmadis first made their appearance on African soil, they generally did not encounter any religious hostility. When delegations went to Tanzania and South Africa, the Muslim communities welcomed them without raising questions regarding their theological beliefs and interpretations. By and large, they experienced an environment in which there was relative freedom. Their circumstances changed later when the ASJ Muslim authorities in these countries became aware of their theological outlook. From then onwards, verbal and, at times, physical conflicts occurred. The ASJ Muslim authorities, as already indicated, made ample use of their theological positions by challenging and countering the Ahmadis’ interpretations even though their leaders argued that they, unlike the Qadiyanis, do not consider Mirza to be a prophet and that they do not subscribe to the view that non-Ahmadis are kafir.

Across the world, ASJ Muslim authorities absolutely opposed the Ahmadis and they stripped them jurisprudentially from their “Muslim” identity and other rights such as marriage and inheritance. But despite these outcomes, the Ahmadis persisted as a persecuted group by continuing with their universal mission as instructed by Mirza. By the early 1900s, Ahmadis had planted themselves in East Africa; by the mid-1910s, they had moved to West Africa; and by the end of the 1950s, they had settled in South Africa. In all of these regions, they left their footprints. This was partly to do with the zealous passion that they possessed to spread Mirza’s message, but it was also to do with the relative peaceful situation that they encountered. As a result of the latter conditions, they took full advantage by preaching to all and sundry, especially arguing against the Christian missionaries. Initially, when the Ahmadi preachers settled and preached without any opposition from within the mainstream Muslim environments, they could undertake their task without being disturbed. This, however, dramatically changed when the orthodox ASJ Muslim authorities learned more about Mirza and his disciples.

The ASJ Muslim authorities reached a consensus that, as a group, the Ahmadis had to be countered and ejected from all Muslim sacred spaces, including mosque and burial sites, and from participating in the obligatory rituals. In addition, those who were married to spouses who were Ahmadis, as Anderson (2013Anderson, J. N. J. 2013Islamic Law in Africa. Reprint edition. LondonRoutledge. [Google Scholar]) pointed out, had to divorce them. Relatedly, the local Muslim News in Cape Town on January 25, 1963, contained an article titled “Faith or Love? The Young Muslim Misled by Ahmadis” (Haron 1993Haron, Muhammed. 1993. “Muslim News (1960–1986): An Expression of an Islamic Identity in South Africa.” In Muslim Identities in Sub-Saharan Africa: Contemporary Transformations in Muslim Societies, Edited Louis Brenner210225BloomingtonIndiana University Press. [Google Scholar]). In recent years, when sectarianism became widespread, a question regarding marriage was posed to Mufti Ebrahim Desai, one of the South Africa’s foremost theologians. Desai tersely and unapologetically responded that the Ahmadis were not Muslims.1313 See http://www.irshad.org/exposed/fatwas/edesai.phpand http://www.askimam.org/public/question_detail/30867This question was posed on 14 October 2014.View all notes On the whole, the ASJ’s theological bodies conveniently used FoRB policies to their advantage, taking theological positions to ostracize the Ahmadis.

South Africa

Nonetheless, in spite of the Cape-based Muslim Judicial Council’s (est.1945) reaction, particularly through fatwas such as the simplistic sample mentioned earlier by Mufti Desai, Ahmadis in South Africa never lost hope, and they largely accepted their fate as a marginalized religious community. While some of them have contested their theological positions and their rightful status as a minority in the South Asian courts as mentioned by Kays (2006Kays, Abdul. 2006The Disciple of Dajjal: Exposing Mirza Ghulam Ahmed Qadiani’s Weird Creed. Revised & Abridged. Crown Mines. JohannesburgAl-Ilmu Noor Publications. [Google Scholar]), they also contested the issue further in the South Africa courts (Qadir 2016Qadir, Ali. 2016. “How Heresy Makes Orthodoxy: The Sedimentation of Sunnism in the Ahmadi Cases of South Africa.” Sociology of Islam 4 (4): 345367. doi: 10.1163/22131418-00404001[Crossref] [Google Scholar]). Of interest to note is the fact that the South African Muslims, who were a religious minority and a politically disenfranchized group, marginalized the Ahmadis, forcing them to undergo double discrimination—from a political dimension they were part of the Colored community that was subjugated, and from a religious dimension they were verbally and physically mistreated by the Muslim community from which they emerged. The MJC declared the Ahmadis to be apostates long before the court cases mentioned above. In addition, Abdul Kays, who was part of the collective editorial committee of the Cape Muslim newspaper, the Muslim News (1960–1986), described the founder of the Ahmadis in distasteful terms in his sensationalist booklet1414 It was first published in 1965 and then revised in 2006.View all notes branding them theologically as non-Muslims.

Ghana

While the Ahmadis had to tolerate the maltreatment at the hands of the MJC and its followers, related encounters were also recorded elsewhere on the continent. Samwini (2006Samwini, Nathan. 2006Muslim Resurgence in Ghana Since 1951: Its Effects upon Muslims and Christian-Muslim RelationsMünsterLIT Verlag. [Google Scholar]) narrates that, in Ghana, the Tijaniyya and Ahmadi discord in the 1940s continued unabated. In one case, Ghana’s Muslim authorities in the town of Tamale even went so far as to encourage the children to stone the Ahmadis, since they were viewed as a major theological threat. Although no such abuses were recorded at the Cape, the Ahmadis felt the extent of ostrakonophobia.

Returning to the year 1994, Ghana witnessed an escalation of conflict between the Tijaniyya and Ahmadis. This time, according to Turkson (2007Turkson, Peter K. 2007Ghana: If Islam becomes an Enigma. Oasis, January 10. MilanFoundation International. [Google Scholar]), the conflict took place in the Ghanian town of Wa. Turkson reported that this skirmish resulted in the burning down of an Ahmadi mosque, resulting in a return of old tensions that existed for some time. Besides the Muslim community’s battles with the Ahmadis, other intra-Muslim conflicts were also prevalent, such as the animosities between the Tijanis and Wahhabis and the violence that took place between them in Ghana’s Wenchi Zongo district during 1995. Apart from these intra-Muslim conflicts, hostilities were also chronicled between the Muslims and Pentecostal Christians in Kumasi, Takoradi and Walewale in 1998. Since the Ahmadis and others were drawn into these persistent scuffles, it created a very unpleasant atmosphere that undermined Ghana’s FoRB policy.1515 See United States Department of State, International Freedom of Religion Report, Ghana, 2016.View all notes

When considering the conflictual outcomes of the relationship between the larger Muslim communities and the minority Ahmadis, one wonders on what theological grounds the Muslim authorities give support to violence against the minorities such as the Ahmadis. The question is: What policy of FoRB should be observed and respected within the nation-state? One should bear in mind that most of the African nation-states are multi-ethnic, multi-lingual, multi-cultural, and, of course, multi-religious. Being multi-religious implies that religious adherents should respect and tolerate one another’s traditions as per An-Naim’s (2012An-Naim, Abdullahi. 2012. “Experiences of Religious Freedom in an African Context – Universal Rights in a World of Diversity: The Case of Religious Freedom.” Acta 17: 193211. Rome: Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences. [Google Scholar]) proposal, even though one may not agree with the others’ beliefs or practices. As regards the attitudes of Muslim communities, which are usually guided by their Muslim authorities, it can be argued that they need to adopt a more tolerant position that is in line with the prophetic model that they are expected to uphold–but then again one talks about the ideal and not the realities on the ground.

However, some of the examples mentioned here, along with the persecution that Ahmadis generally experienced at the hands of the ASJ Muslim authorities, demonstrate that the latter group is rather selective when it comes to observing FoRB policies. In fact, they should consider drawing lessons from Shaykh Dr Osman Nuhu Sharubutu, who is the National Chief Imam of Ghana and a member of Ghana’s National Peace Council. According to the Rabwah Times report,1616 “Chief Imam of Ghana Speaks Out in Support of Ahmadis.” Rabwah Times, 14 August 2016.View all notes he decided to broker peace with the Ahmadis and forget the past. It seems that, notwithstanding the constitutional guarantees that exist in some countries, the Ahmadis were and are still being challenged by the Muslim communities’ religious authorities, who have remained firm that no Ahmadi should be regarded as a Muslim. The general chauvinistic behavior of the Muslim authorities has affected the Ahmadis on three levels: (1) they caused the Ahmadis to remain a religiously insecure community, (2) they took away their religious rights in religious freedom environments, and (3) they forced them to be theologically ostracized and socially marginalized even though they do, like their counter-parts, have the constitutional rights to freely express their religious identity.

Conclusion

This article has essentially documented the Ahmadi community’s presence, as a religious minority community in Africa, where FoRB policies were and are still in place. It, however, illustrated to what extent this community experienced various types of abuses and persecution. Even though they splintered from the Qadiyanis, who held views that were contrary to the orthodox Sunni Islam views, they were still held responsible for subtly perpetuating these debatable theological beliefs and perspectives. The Ahmadis’ fate was sealed when the ASJ Muslim authorities under the auspices of the Mecca based Muslim World League issued a fatwa1717 Rasheed, “Consensus of the International Muslim Community on the Ahmadiyya Movement,” 15 February 2014. Auckland: At Tawqa Trust. http://www.masjidattaqwa.co.nz/ahmadiyya/Interestingly, the journal which published the fatwa seems to have erases it from its website at www.iifa-aifi.org.View all notes declaring both Ahmadis and Qadiyanis to be non-Muslims.

From then onwards, orthodox Sunni Islam Muslim authorities across the globe felt obliged to observe this decision. What this essentially meant was that, even though the Ahmadis still expressed and identified with a set of the beliefs to which Muslims generally adhere, these authorities jurisprudentially argued that they were not on par with other Muslims in terms of their beliefs. That being the case, they were thus legally viewed as a separate religious group and not as another school of thought within the house of Islam. Also important to observe is that fact that, while the Ahmadis wish to be technically regarded as Muslims, they also consciously preferred to use the term “Ahmadi” to distinguish themselves from everyone else, including the Qadiyanis. Nonetheless, as a consequence of the legal opinion issued by orthodox Sunni Islam Muslim authorities, the Ahmadis—wherever they settled around the globe—were regarded jurisprudentially as separate and apart from those traditionally defined as Muslims in both majority and minority communities (Asad 2010Ahmed, Asad. 2010. “The Paradoxes of Ahmadiyya Identity: Legal Appropriation of Muslim-Ness and the Construction of Ahmadiyya Difference.” In Beyond Crisis: Re-Evaluating Pakistan, edited by Naveeda A. Khan273314LondonRoutledge. [Google Scholar]).1818 Interestingly, apart from Pakistan, where the Ahmaddiya started out, they are now to be found in at least four majority Muslim states–namely Egypt, Morocco, Algeria, and Indonesia. While Pakistan has banned Ahmadis from using the name Muslim, other states such as Egypt have not.View all notes

ORCID

Muhammed Haron http://orcid.org/0000-0001-6907-8488

Notes

1 This term refers to anti-Muslim rhetoric that has been studies by various individuals and groups over the past few years. Interesting texts that cover this phenomenon is the report by Wajahat Ali et al. Fear Inc.: The Roots of the Islamophobia Network in America (Wajahat Ali et al. 2011Wajahat Ali et al. 2011Fear Inc.: The Roots of the Islamophobia Network in AmericaWashington, DCCentre for American Progress.https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/religion/report/2011/08/26/10165/fear-inc/Fear, Inc.: The Roots of the Islamophobia Network in America],“ Wajahat Ali, Eli Clifton, Matthew Duss, Lee Fang, Scott Keyes, and Faiz Shakir. [Google Scholar]) and European Islamophobia Report 2015(Bayrakli and Hafez 2016Bayrakli, Enes, and Farid Hafez, eds. 2016European Islamophobia Report 2015Istanbul & Washington, DCSETA. [Google Scholar]).

2 This researcher searched the long list of words that describe the various phobias and he was unable to find a word that captures the “fear of being ostracized.” He thus coined this term that he derived from the Greek word: ostrakon (visit: www.fearof.net and www.phobialist.com).

3 The Ahmadis are also referred to the Lahoris and they have been challenged by their theological siblings, namely the Qadiyanis who consider themselves the authentic followers of Mirza.

4 Ehsan Rehan reported on November 12, 2017 that Allama Iqbal Bahisti, who was the secretary general of Majlis Wahdat—e-Muslimin and a key Shi’ite theologian, warned about the dangers that both the Bahais and Ahmadis posed; this is rather ironic during the current period knowing that many theologians in the Sunni world have also condemned the Shi’ites to be outside the fold of Islam! Ehsan Rehan, “Pakistani Shia Cleric Warns of Dangers Posed by Baha’is & Ahmadis,” Rabwah Times, 12 November 2017. See Ahmadiyya Anjuman Ishàat Islam Lahore Inc. U.S.A. “Ahmadiyya Movement Contrasted with the Bahai Religion.” http://www.muslim.org/intro/bah.htm and Fuad Al-Attar, “The Difference between Ahmadis and Bahais.” Ahmadiyya: Inviting to Islam (blog), 7 January 2012. The latter provides a simplistic comparative view.

5 Though popularly referred to as the ‘Ulama [that is, the learned scholars], in this essay they will be referred as Muslim theologians or alternatively as religious authorities.

6 See “Difference Between Sunni and Ahmadi,” DifferenceBetween.net, c. June 2010; “What are the main difference between Ahmadiyyas and other Muslims?” Quora.com, c. July 2015.

7 Ibrahim Oguntayo, “Future of Ahmadiyya in Nigeria: Beyond the First Century.” Vanguard, 25 November 2016.

8 “Ahmadiyya in Ghana,” Wikipedia, accessed July 2018.

9 Ahmaddiya Muslim Jamaat Tanzania, “A Brief History.” http://ahmadiyyatz.org/a-brief-history/.

10 Ahmaddiya Muslim Jamaat Tanzania, “A brief history.”

11 Majlis Khuddam-ul-Ahmadiyya, South Africa. “About: What is the Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association?,” http://khuddam.org.za/about.

12 The Moslem Outlook, 20 February 1926, http://www.wokingmuslim.org/work/s-africa-is-rev.htm and http://www.wokingmuslim.org/pers/headley.htm.

13 See http://www.irshad.org/exposed/fatwas/edesai.php and http://www.askimam.org/public/question_detail/30867 This question was posed on 14 October 2014.

14 It was first published in 1965 and then revised in 2006.

15 See United States Department of State, International Freedom of Religion Report, Ghana, 2016.

16 “Chief Imam of Ghana Speaks Out in Support of Ahmadis.” Rabwah Times, 14 August 2016.

17 Rasheed, “Consensus of the International Muslim Community on the Ahmadiyya Movement,” 15 February 2014. Auckland: At Tawqa Trust. http://www.masjidattaqwa.co.nz/ahmadiyya/ Interestingly, the journal which published the fatwa seems to have erases it from its website at www.iifa-aifi.org.

18 Interestingly, apart from Pakistan, where the Ahmaddiya started out, they are now to be found in at least four majority Muslim states–namely Egypt, Morocco, Algeria, and Indonesia. While Pakistan has banned Ahmadis from using the name Muslim, other states such as Egypt have not.

References

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Links and Related Essays

https://ahmadiyyafactcheckblog.com/2018/09/20/islam-vs-ahmadiyya-in-nigeria-1975-by-dr-ismail-a-b-balogan-b-a-ph-d-london-university-of-ibadan/

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/15570274.2018.1535048?af=R&

https://ahmadiyyafactcheckblog.com/2019/08/09/mirza-ghulam-ahmad-told-indians-to-pray-for-the-success-of-the-british-government-1897/

https://ahmadiyyafactcheckblog.com/2017/05/22/ahmadiyya-in-gambia/

FISHER, HUMPHREY (1963). AHMADIYYAH: A STUDY IN CONTEMPORARY ISLAM ON THE WEST AFRICAN COAST. OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS. P. 130.CENTENARY KHILAFAT-E-AHMADIYYA. TAHRIK-E-JADID ANJUMAN AHMADIYYA PAKISTAN. 2008. P. 296.

https://ahmadiyyafactcheckblog.com/2017/05/22/ahmadiyya-in-gambia/

https://ahmadiyyafactcheckblog.com/2017/02/19/dr-balogan-the-famous-african-ahmadi-who-left-ahmadiyya-in-1974/

https://ahmadiyyafactcheckblog.com/2017/09/01/who-is-farimang-mamadi-singhateh-the-governor-general-of-the-gambia-and-an-ahmadi/

Islam, A Study in contemporay Islam on the West African Coast by Humphrey J. Fisher (1963) Pages 1-25

Islam, A Study in contemporay Islam on the West African Coast by Humphrey J. Fisher (1963) pages 26-61

Islam, A Study in contemporay Islam on the West African Coast by Humphrey J. Fisher (1963) pages 62-99

Islam, A Study in contemporay Islam on the West African Coast by Humphrey J. Fisher (1963) pages 99-141

Islam, A Study in contemporay Islam on the West African Coast by Humphrey J. Fisher (1963) pages 141-183

Islam, A Study in contemporay Islam on the West African Coast by Humphrey J. Fisher (1963) pages 141 to end

https://ahmadiyyafactcheckblog.com/2017/09/01/the-ahmadiyya-playbook-in-africa/

https://ahmadiyyafactcheckblog.com/2017/02/19/dr-balogan-the-famous-african-ahmadi-who-left-ahmadiyya-in-1974/

https://ahmadiyyafactcheckblog.com/2017/09/01/who-is-farimang-mamadi-singhateh-the-governor-general-of-the-gambia-and-an-ahmadi/

https://ahmadiyyafactcheckblog.com/2018/09/20/professor-humphrey-j-fisher-and-j-spencer-trimingham-called-ahmadiyya-a-maritime-implantation-in-west-africa/

https://ahmadiyyafactcheckblog.com/?s=Fisher

https://ahmadiyyafactcheckblog.com/?s=above+the+law

https://ahmadiyyafactcheckblog.com/?s=violent+jihad

https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/bulletin-of-the-school-of-oriental-and-african-studies/article/humphrey-j-fisher-ahmadiyyah-a-study-in-contemporary-islam-on-the-west-african-coast-x-206-pp-london-etc-oxford-university-press-for-the-nigerian-institute-of-social-and-economic-research-1963-35s/4E2803CA59EC8969CDC8FB27BFDC9059

https://books.google.com/books/about/The_Ahmadiyya_Movement_in_Nigeria.html?id=91fKHAAACAAJ

https://books.google.com/books?id=C2DxBwAAQBAJ&pg=PA11&lpg=PA11&dq=Humphrey+J+Fisher+and+ahmadiyya&source=bl&ots=-eayPuf3b5&sig=kFuL6U5O65Sh0_d66-Mge0VOmPM&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjHwaSon8rdAhWQIDQIHQGcD_AQ6AEwDHoECAIQAQ#v=onepage&q=Humphrey%20J%20Fisher%20and%20ahmadiyya&f=false

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